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Coming to a screen near you

Updated: 
December 27, 2013 - 8:14am

The 2014 Waimea Ocean Film Festival offers an exciting lineup of films, special guests, exhibits and receptions Jan. 2 through 10.

The festival opens Jan. 2 in Waimea with films playing simultaneously from Jan. 2 through 5 at Kahilu Theatre, Hawaii Preparatory Academy Gates Performing Arts Center, and Parker Theatre. Showings also occur at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii Jan. 2 through 4. On Jan. 6, the festival moves to Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai, where Eddie Kamae will share a few songs after the opening night film.

The festival brings more than 50 films to the big screen, most of which are world, U.S., Hawaii or Big Island premieres. Films fall into the basic categories of ocean experience (such as surfing and paddling), ocean environment—including things we do on land that impact the sea, and island culture. Inspirational films are also screened.

On the cultural side, the festival weaves a rich offering, with films by Eddie and Myrna Kamae about the history, culture and music of the islands, a presentation by Hula Preservation Society with historical footage and dances and discussion by kupuna hula, and the showing of the 1951 remake of the 20th Century Fox film “Bird of Paradise,” with an introduction by Queenie Dowsett.

In this vein, television channel KGMB’s Brother’s Cazimero shares the story of this musical duo, with producer Phil Arnone and writer Robert Pennybacker in attendance to answer questions about the film. “The Voyager Exhibit” features the upcoming worldwide voyage of Hokulea, and will include an 8-foot by 13-foot map of the world, showing Hokulea’s planned route, along with interactive exhibits about life on the canoe, and the work of National Geographic photographer Nicholas DeVore III. The exhibit opens with a blessing and ceremony at Kahilu Theatre 4 p.m. Jan. 2. Imiloa Astronomy Center also joins the festival this year with a presentation on wayfinding, complete with star compass and a full-dome star show.

For inspiration, speaker and author Alan Cohen returns as one of the presenters in “Finding Joe,” to host a workshop on the hero’s journey. National Medal of Arts award recipient and composer Morten Lauridsen attends the festival this year along with the film about his life and work, “Shining Night,” and will accompany a local chorus in a performance of one or two of his pieces. “Botso,” a beautiful film about a music teacher who made his way to Morro Bay from Stalinist Georgia, against all odds, is sure to warm the hearts of the audience.

On the thought-provoking side, “Hot Water,” produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Don Rogers, explores the legacy of uranium mining in the west, including the possibility of our Fukushima-like event. “Gasland 2,” an equally compelling sequel to Academy Award-nominated “Gasland,” comes to the festival with director Josh Fox in attendance to talk about the film. “The Last Ocean” is a stunning film about the Ross Sea, and “GMO OMG,” “Plastic Paradise,” and “More Than Honey” all provide insight into the issues around us. For those who missed them, 2013 People’s Choice winners “Chasing Ice” and “North of the Sun” will show one more time.

For adventure, the festival offers a heart-pounding selection of surf films, along with a slide presentation and exhibit by 1960s surf photographer and former Reyn’s CEO Tim McCullough. In partnership with Bruce Brown films, Ocean Film launches the 50th anniversary tour of “The Endless Summer.” And HPA graduate Alison Teal premieres the latest installments in her series “Alison’s Adventures: Blue Duck Station” and “The Lost Island of the Firewalkers.”

M. Sanjayan, an Emmy nominated news contributor and the lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, returns to the festival to share a sneak preview of a star-studded series produced by James Cameron, “The Years of Living Dangerously,” which will be aired on Showtime in April. Dawn Lippert, who leads the Energy Excelerator, a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, joins the festival to talk about innovations in energy technology and investing in a clean energy future. “The Crash Reel,” directed by Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker, and currently under consideration for an Academy Award nomination, will have its Hawaii premiere at the festival.

Receptions include a high-octane, surf-themed opening night Jan. 2 at The Fairmont Orchid. Attendees are invited to wear 1960s surf attire. The Taste of the Island Jan. 5 at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel features the culinary delights of many of the island’s top chefs and has grown into a festival highlight. New this year, the Jan. 10 closing night reception at Four Seasons moves to Hoku Amphitheatre for what promises to be a beautiful evening with island fare, music and film.

Participants can begin the day with sunrise yoga on the beach, power up with coffee at the morning talks and then head out for a day of thought-provoking film and discussion.

Festival passes can be purchased via the website or by calling 854-6095.

For the latest updates on films and speakers, visit facebook.com/waimeaoceanfilmfestival, waimeaoceanfilm.org or email info@waimeaoceanfilm.org.